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Heerenveen hero Finnbogason a 'phenomenon'

Published: Wednesday 26 March 2014, 8.53CET
Dutch top scorer, sc Heerenveen's all-time leading marksman, a potential "phenomenon", Van Nistelrooy and Huntelaar rolled into one – meet Alfred Finnbogason.
by Berend Scholten
from Diest
Heerenveen hero Finnbogason a 'phenomenon'
Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason has had plenty of reason to celebrate this season ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 26 March 2014, 8.53CET

Heerenveen hero Finnbogason a 'phenomenon'

Dutch top scorer, sc Heerenveen's all-time leading marksman, a potential "phenomenon", Van Nistelrooy and Huntelaar rolled into one – meet Alfred Finnbogason.

Alfred Finnbogason became sc Heerenveen's all-time leading scorer at the weekend – considering the Iceland forward is still only 25, there looks certain to be plenty more to come.

He's cool, he has vision and a fine nose for goal. He could become a phenomenon
Marco van Basten

Finnbogason struck his 24th Eredivisie goal of the season in Saturday's 2-2 home draw with NEC Nijmegen, matching his tally from last term to move onto 48 top-flight goals in total, one more than Gerald Sibon mustered during three spells at Heerenveen.

"Of course I am happy and proud of my record," he said. "Although personally I was not preoccupied with the record, it is great to go into the history books in this way. It is an honour because a lot of good strikers have played for Heerenveen. But it is only positive for me personally – the team did not benefit from this. I'd rather have won the three points like we should have done."

Finnbogason is part of an impressive lineage at Heerenveen, where the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jon Dahl Tomasson all took early steps in their careers. It has also proven a happy stomping ground for Finnbogason, who had been something of a journeyman up until the past 18 months.

Born in Reykjavik, he spent part of his childhood in Edinburgh before returning to his homeland to play for Breidablik, whom he helped to a first Icelandic title in 2010. A subsequent stint at KSC Lokeren OV in Belgium was not as fruitful, though a loan period with Sweden's Helsingborgs IF prompted Heerenveen to come calling in August 2012. Under the tutelage of striking great turned Heerenveen coach Marco van Basten, he has gone from strength to strength.

©Getty Images

Marco van Basten in his playing days

"I knew his name, just like I knew those of [Johan] Cruyff and [Diego] Maradona, though I did not really experience his playing days," said Finnbogason of Van Basten. "I immediately thought I would be able to learn a lot from him, and I was right. [It helps to] have a coach who played your position, who knows how you think, how your feel, who can really help you. If you don't learn from the best, you won't learn from anyone."

Such admiration is mutual, with Van Basten saying of his No11: "I would compare him to Ruud van Nistelrooy, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jon Dahl Tomasson. He's cool, he has vision and a fine nose for goal. He could become a phenomenon."

If Van Nistelrooy was an example to Finnbogason when growing up, Robin van Persie and Robert Lewandowski are contemporaries he particularly admires. "I was a Man United fan and [Van Nistelrooy] had an important role there. I like his drive, he was always in the box, and a chance was almost always a goal with him. That is something I also try to do. My strength is also in the penalty area. Lewandowski is powerful but the type I can learn from. Together with Robin van Persie he is the most complete No9 in the world."

Last updated: 26/03/14 15.06CET

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